Wednesday, April 29, 2009


The Republican party is going into rearranging-the-chairs-on-the-Titanic mode over the defection of longtime GOP fixture Arlen Specter to the Democrats, claiming on one hand that Specter was never a "true" Republican while simultaneously issuing dire warnings that a filibuster-proof Democratic majority will mean some sort of fascist regime is about to bloom here in these United States. It's a spectacularly clueless performance.

And, frankly, surprising. This is it? This is the best they've got? Since Obama took power, conservatives have been reduced to cartoonish fear-mongering, their claims growing ever more shrill and laughable, and having less and less basis in reality. Political reality, I mean--Republican politics have seldom had much to do with the real world. But they've always been good at what they do, they've always been good at keeping people scared and shoving their merciless agendas through congress.

But now, the country seems to have passed them by. A recent New York Times story interviewed right-wing pundits who privately decried the fact that the nation seems indifferent if not actively supportive of gay marriage. It was going to be one of their big wedge issues in the midterm elections, but now that everyone has decided to become tolerant, what are they going to do? Run on substance?

They don't seem to realize how popular Obama remains, or notice that poll after poll shows a majority of Americans blame most of our current woes, economic and otherwise, on the Republicans. Not even on the Bush administration, not any more. Now it's the party itself which is constantly being fingered by a majority of citizens as the root cause of everything that's wrong.

And why not? They're essentially following up one spectacular loss by planning for another, building another Death Star even after the first was destroyed.

(Suddenly confetti falls from the ceiling, the APPLAUSE lights are turned on and the band plays a public domain upbeat tune as the announcer notes the thousandth heavy-handed Star Wars analogy used in this space since 2006. Your humble blogger is presented an award by a guy in a cheap Wookie costume, and accepts tearfully.)

The behavior of the GOP's leadership since November has been astonishingly wrong on almost everything, from Bobby Jindal's sneering dismissal of federal funds to study volcanic activity in Alaska (right before a volcano there became active) to Michael Steele's loud questioning of money allocated for protection in case of a nation-wide pandemic (right before the swine flu outbreak). It's as though God Himself is attempting to paint Republicans as fools.

But the fact is, they don't need the help. They're doing a fine job on their own.